Next Sunday is the fourth anniversary of 9/11. At 9:00 p.m. (Eastern) that evening, the Discovery Channel will broadcast a film on United Flight 93: “The flight that fought back.” The Discovery Channel’s marketing company sent me a review copy of the film that I watched last night. I hope you will mark the date and time of the film and watch it if you can.
Recall that many of the passengers of Flight 93 spoke by air and cell phones with family members after the plane was hijacked. They accordingly learned of the attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, and resolved to attempt to retake control of the flight.
The film cuts between a reenactment of the flight and interviews with surviving family members. The film makes use of the recorded calls and voicemail messages from the plane to the ground as well as air traffic control recordings. The film brings the flight to life and reawakens the anger and hurt we all felt on that day and in the immediate aftermath of 9/11.
The flight carried only 33 passengers and seven crew members, yet the film portrays the tremendous loss of human talent represented by the death of those 40 men and women. The family members who appear on camera provide potent testimony to the nature of their loss.
Perhaps most striking to me was the son of Louis Nacke, who refers to his father as his “idol” and expresses indignation over what has been “stolen” from him by his father’s murder. The son appears on camera in uniform. Referring to the attempted retaking of the plane by the passengers and crew, the son states: “I want to finish what he [his father] started.” Also striking among the on-camera survivors is the level of identification by them with their loved ones and their ability to speak on their behalf.
Jewish law holds that to save one life is as if to have saved the whole world. “The Flight That Fought Back” shows with great power that, for those left behind, to lose one life may be as if to have lost the whole world.
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